Rider magazine asked our two good friends David Andreas and John Puerner, who are participating in the 20th Anniversary of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, to keep us posted on the ride’s progress with a daily blog. Each entry will cover the previous day’s events (or perhaps the two previous days). Here’s their report from the third ride day on Monday, May 5.
Yesterday started in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and ended in Midland, Texas. Today we ride southwest to Austin, which is about 344 miles.
The “pack” is lead by motor marshals, some of who are retired or off-duty North Carolina Highway Patrol Officers. They set the pace (in accordance with the speed limit), help mark key turns and hold traffic entering and exiting highways. Our lead rider, Don Tilley is the first rider in the big group. Don has ridden the route in advance and plays a big role in the planning. He is often referred to as a “human GPS.”
Behind Don, we fall into a staggered formation that often stretches over a mile long. Importantly, and as Kyle Petty reminds us constantly, we share the road with everyone and do our best to help cars and trucks merge and travel with our group.
Often times, when we come into towns the local police or sheriffs will help with intersection control, so we can move through smoothly. We are extremely grateful for all of the help we get from law enforcement along the way.
Directly behind the group of Charity Riders is the medical team which stands by ready to assist in anyway possible. Trailing the pack is a support truck with mechanics in case of a breakdown, and trailers to transport bikes if necessary.
As long time participants in the Ride, we are always impressed by the courtesy and skill of the riders, the emphasis on safety and the unbelievable planning and coordination that makes this ride so special.
That’s why folks come back year after year.
David Andreas and John Puerner